One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Perfumed cosmetic powder sprinkled on a wig or applied to the skin.
dust, fine particles, fine grainsView synonyms
- ‘I smelt the fop by his pulvilio from the balcony down to the street.’
- ‘His periwig was struck off, and the whole room filled with pulvilio.’
- ‘It was easy for the porter in Farquhar to pass for Beau Clincher, by borrowing his lace and his pulvilio.’
- ‘Sir Ambrose rose up in considerable dismay at a clatter above his head which half blinded him with pulvilio and scattered feathers.’
- ‘How many pounds of pulvil must the fellow use in sweetening himself from the smell of hops and tobacco?’
Late 17th century: from Italian polviglio ‘fine powder’, from polve, polvere ‘powder’.
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